Parties, money and social media

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Think Party Thoughts (Jesssica & Angeline)Think Party Thoughts was co-founded by college friends Angeline Lim and Jessica Wong and these bubbly entrepreneurs market their services online, primarily through Facebook and Instagram.

oon yeohBy Oon Yeoh

If you were to run an online business it would be natural to do it through a dedicated website. Or so it used to be. Today, more and more entrepreneurs are going straight to social media and conducting their business through that viral platform rather than the static web.

I recently spoke to two companies that are involved in the business of parties. One provides decorations for parties while the other offer party planning solutions. Both are heavily leaning on social media to market their services.

Think Party Thoughts is an online party decoration and accessories shop, selling as hand-crafted, bespoke designs and specially-sourced party accessories. The business was co-founded by college friends Angeline Lim and Jessica Wong (pic). Both are involved in handcrafting their decorations, although Angeline focuses on copywriting while Jessica handles design duties.

“We had been talking about starting an online business together for years, but it just didn’t materialise immediately as we both had other commitments,” says Angeline. “The chance came to us in late 2012 when Jessica helped me to design a party theme for a bachelorette party that I was organising for a friend. We thought it was a good idea to recycle the same design and sell it online. We did that and Think Party Thoughts emerged as a result.”

Social Petals is a company that helps to style and plan parties for clients. It was co-founded by three friends, Jasmine Abu Bakar, Aifaa Rahim and Inga Jawahir Ratul. Both Jasmine and Aifaa have degrees in Interface Design while Inga has a degree in Media Innovation.

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As with Think Party Thoughts, the concept of forming a party planning company came about by chance. “The idea came about earlier this year when the three of us were talking about organizing my daughter’s birthday party,” says Jasmine. “As we began planning and thinking about what to do and where to buy things, we realized that with our common backgrounds in design, we had what it takes to do this as a business. And with that, Social Petals was born.”

It so happens both companies market their services online, primarily through Facebook and Instagram. “It was a deliberate decision to use Facebook as our main platform because we knew it would allow us to reach our target audience, all of whom were on Facebook,” says Angeline.

It was also because of Facebook’s social and viral nature that Social Petals opted to use it as their main platform. “We started by building our portfolio and then spread the word through our network of friends on Facebook. Word spread quite fast this way,” says Jasmine.

Both Think Party Thoughts and Social Petals use Instagram as their secondary platform. It’s not surprising that they would turn to this picture-based social media platform as party decorations and party planning lend themselves well to being represented visually.

Although neither company currently has a website, their attitudes about it are different. Think Party Thoughts does see a need to eventually have a website. “Facebook and Instagram can’t deliver an integrated or one-stop online shopping system where we can easily process orders, track inventory, manage our customer database and so on. To do that we need a proper e-commerce website, which we will have eventually,” says Angeline.

Social Petals, in contrast, will do without a website for the foreseeable future. They don’t see it as something necessary or even suitable. “It’s too much of a hassle to maintain and besides, our target market is on Facebook,” says Jasmine. “Rather than invest in a website, we prefer to focus on enhancing our Facebook Page, to make it more interactive and to include video tutorials, to run contests and to offer special promotions, etc.”

Both agree though that the web is critical for research on latest products and trends. “We do a lot of our research online. It’s the fastest way to get the latest information,” says Angeline. This is a sentiment echoed by Jasmine: “Our clients are quite savvy so we need keep up to date with trends to meet their expectations. Online research is the best way to do this.”

Oon Yeoh is a new media consultant. 

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